Archive for January, 2009

Response to Jay Dyer on Calvinism (Part 4 of 13)

January 30, 2009

This is part 4 of the thirteen part series in response to Jay Dyer. The previous part may be found here (link).

Jay Dyer says:
3) “[A consistent Calvinist must be] A Monothelite, in that in conversion, the divine will supplants the human will. And this would go for Christ’s divine will as well.”

I answer:

a) The Calvinist Position (whether right doctrine or error let Scripture decide)

In regeneration, man is given a new heart (Ezekiel 11:19) – which (together with the on-going work of the Spirit) leads to good things, like repentance and faith, coming forth from him (Luke 6:45). Christ affirmed a distinction between his human and divine will (Luke 22:42) – and, of course, Christ was resurrected, but was not regenerated. Sometimes conversion and regeneration are spoken of interchangeably, other times they are distinguished, but this nuance of theology (as important as it may be) is not particularly relevant, since it is in regeneration (properly speaking) that man’s will is changed.

b) The Accusation Disputed

The error for which Monothelites were criticized was a denial of the human nature of Christ. While this may not have been justified (as with the criticism of Nestorius), it has become the primary defining characteristic of what is viewed as Monothelitism. Perhaps a more precise expression would be saying that in Monothelitism, Christ had only a divine will and no human will. Such a view is unacceptable in Calvinism, which teaches that Christ was both fully God and fully man. How this can be is hard to understand. Nevertheless, Scripture teaches it, and so we believe it. A view that denied Christ’s true human will would compromise the active obedience of Christ, which is imputed to believers. The active obedience of Christ is his obedience, as a man, to the moral law. Arguably, Monothelitism also undermines the ill-named “passive” obedience of Christ in voluntarily suffering during life and dying on the cross, since it does not show the true submission Christ showed in consenting to die for us, his people, as taught in Scripture (John 10:18).

The fact that man’s heart is changed in regeneration has nothing to do with Monothelitism. Man only has one will – and the number of wills of man is not really part of the Monothelite controversy. Furthermore, since Christ himself doesn’t experience regeneration (since Christ’s nature was not depraved by the fall, as he was not under Adam’s federal headship), it’s far fetched (to say the least) to imagine that there can be any regeneration-Christ-Monothelitism connection.

c) The Accusation Redirected

Of course, Catholicism doesn’t deny that Christ had both a human and a divine will. Nevertheless, the superstitious error of transubstantiation could be said to deny the true humanity of Christ (which would be as serious an error). How so? The doctrine of transubstantiation claims that the bread and wine physically become the body and blood of Christ. However, a careful investigation of the bread and wine reveals them to be physically just bread and wine, unlike true human flesh and blood, which has identifiable biological characteristics. Aristotelian categories are brought into play (by, for example, Trent) to try to assert that the substance of the body and blood are there under the accidents of bread and wine. This explanation, however, makes little philosophical sense, and certainly makes no scientific sense. The physical sciences can confirm there is no physical change. God does certainly have the power to perform physical changes (just as the water was transformed to wine at Cana), but when those physical changes occur, the changed thing exhibits the physical qualities of what it has been changed into. To assert that the bread and wine are literally the physical body and blood of Christ are implicitly to deny that Christ’s body and blood have human DNA, have human cells, or are in any way like our human bodies. Such an assertion amounts to an implicit denial of the true humanity of Christ.

This should be concern enough, but it gets worse. One of the bishops of Rome actually was condemned by an ecumenical council (The Sixth Ecumenical Council, Constantinople III) as a Monothelite. It’s popular for modern Catholicism to try to dismiss Honorius’ posthumous excommunication as being simply based on his private views, and not on his teachings in an official capacity.

Nevertheless, the Sixth Ecumenical Council declared:

But as the author of evil, who, in the beginning availed himself of the aid of the serpent, and by it brought the poison of death upon the human race, has desisted, but in like manner now, having found suitable instruments for working his will (we mean Theodoras who Bishop of Pharan, Sergius, Pyrrhus, Paul and Peter, who were Archbishops of this royal city and moreover, Honorius who Pope of the elder Rome, Cyrus Bishop of Alexandria, Macarius who was lately of Antioch, and Stephen his disciple) has actively employed them in raising up for the whole Church the stumbling of one will and one operation in the natures of Christ our true God one of Holy Trinity; thus disseminating, in novel terms amongst the orthodox people, an heresy similar to the mad and wicked doctrine of the impious Apollinaris, Severus, and Themistius, and endeavouring craftily to destroy the perfection of the incarnation of the same our Lord Jesus Christ, our God, by blasphemously representing flesh endowed with a rational soul as devoid of will or operation.

How to deal with this contradiction between a pope and an ecumenical council has proved challenging for those in modern Catholicism. Schaff notes, that one “Roman Catholic Curialist writer[]” named Pennacchi affirmed that “Honorius’s letters were strictly speaking Papal decrees, set forth auctoritate apostolica, and therefore irreformable, but he declares, contrary to the opinion of almost all theologians … that they are orthodox, and that the Council erred in condemning them … ” (quotation is Schaff writing). The majority approach (as mentioned by Schaff, and probably still true today) is to assert that Honorius’ letters were errant but were not ex cathedra.

Nevertheless, the historical fact is that Honorius was condemned as an heretic and monothelite, as established by at least 13 points of evidence that Schaff provides, including the following: “The Papal Oath as found in the Liber Diurnus taken by each new Pope from the fifth to the eleventh century, in the form probably prescribed by Gregory II, “smites with eternal anathema the originators of the new heresy Sergius etc together with Honorius because he assisted the base assertion of the heretics.” (footnote omitted)

Of course, this sort of thing (posthumous anathemas for heresy) are, or should be troubling, for those who wish to trust that their church is providing them with the truth and not an heretical error. Who can confidently say that John Paul II or Benedict XVI will not be found by a later ecumenical to be heretics on some point that today is widely accepted (note how many patriarchs and bishops from a wide geographic area were condemned by the Sixth Ecumenical Council)? Who is in a position to judge whether Benedict XVI is teaching you heresy or truth?

Scripture has the answer – it is not to follow a church that has been led by fallible and even heretical men. Instead, it instructs us to follow the example of the Bereans (Acts 17:11), search the Scriptures (John 5:39), test the spirits whether they are from God (1 John 4:1), go to the very thing that is given as profitable for doctrine (2 Timothy 3:16), that is alone described as being given by God’s inspiration (2 Timothy 3:16), and which can make one wise unto salvation (2 Timothy 3:15), so that you might be thoroughly furnished (2 Timothy 3:17). In short, the answer is that believers must turn to Scripture to judge whether the spirit of Rome today is the spirit of God, or whether it is one of the many false teachers that were prophesied (2 Peter 2:1).

-TurretinFan

Continue to Part 5

Choice and the Common Man

January 30, 2009

When I talk to people (average, ordinary people) they mean by choice just what Calvinism teaches about what choice is: people picking from among various options. They normally don’t impose much of a philosophical framework on it.

If I ask them, “What if someone forces you to pick A?” They would reply that this isn’t really a choice. Of course, that’s because there’s compulsion involved.

On the other hand, if I ask them how they got their now-spouse to pick them, they will have some kind of answer. Sometimes the answer is that they “just fell in love,” sometimes the answer is persistence on the part of one of the two spouses, but ultimately the person normally acknowledges some causal relation at play, although they still view the relationship as a voluntary association.

I could go further with the nuances (such as the fact that people buy advertising because they think they can influence choices), but the bottom line is that generally speaking every “average Joe” I speak to has roughly the same answers to the questions about choice, and they all line up either exactly with what Calvinism teaches about choice, or awfully close.

On the other hand, when I talk to folks who are “Arminian theologians” (of greater or lesser sophistication), I generally find them appealing to philosophical definitions of choice that (a) don’t matter to the common man, (b) aren’t readily intelligible either to the Arminians themselves or the common man, and (c) don’t come from Scripture.

Personally, I find (c) to be the most problematic of the matters. The truth is that Scriptures clearly teach that God has foreordained whatsoever comes to pass (see Acts 17:26, for example), that men make choices (see, for example, Isaiah 65:12), and that God has a purpose in evil the evil acts of men (see, for example, Genesis 50:20). These truths are compatible, whether people like it or not. Everything is part of God’s plan, even our choices.

Proverbs 16:4 The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.

This is the truth of Scripture. God has made all things for himself – even the wicked. He has a purpose in everything. That’s why he sets up as a test of deity that an alleged god explain the reasons for history and tell the future. God can do those things because History is written by God:

Isaiah 41:21-23
21 Produce your cause, saith the LORD; bring forth your strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob. 22 Let them bring them forth, and shew us what shall happen: let them shew the former things, what they be, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare us things for to come. 23 Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods: yea, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold it together.

This is how great God is. He holds all of history in the palm of his hand – he turns kings hearts, whatever direction it pleases Him.

Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

And if Kings’ hearts are under God’s control, don’t think that God only has a thought for them, but not for the lesser details:

Luke 12:6-7
6 Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? 7 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.

This is what the Bible has to say, and we need to believe it.

But I was surprised and disappointed to hear of a counter-argument attempted from those who embrace the philosophical position of Libertarian Free Will (LFW). They have attempted to claim that their position is what common men hold, despite the great evidence to the contrary. However, Mr. Manata, employing his usual rapier wit, has provided a brief rejoinder to one of their claims (link). While I certainly find his point amusing, I hope the positive presentation above briefly provides the reason that I think the shoe is really on the other foot. It is the Arminian concept of LFW that is foreign to the average Joe. The average Joe can readily see that choices have reasons and explanations that go beyond the mere whim of the person making the choice. While the average Joe may not fully comprehend how choice and universal predestination can co-exist, this is often because of caricatures of predestination (such as the fatalism caricature) that are provided.

But let me leave you, the reader, on a more interesting note. People talk about the fact that the word “choose” is in the Bible. But did you notice who that is usually talking about?

Men Choosing

1. (Exodus 17:9) And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand.

2. (Deuteronomy 30:19) I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

3. (Joshua 24:15) And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

4. (1 Samuel 17:8) And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me.

5. (2 Samuel 17:1) Moreover Ahithophel said unto Absalom, Let me now choose out twelve thousand men, and I will arise and pursue after David this night:

6. (2 Samuel 24:12) Go and say unto David, Thus saith the LORD, I offer thee three things; choose thee one of them, that I may do it unto thee.

7. (1 Kings 18:23) Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: and I will dress the other bullock, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under:

8. (1 Kings 18:25) And Elijah said unto the prophets of Baal, Choose you one bullock for yourselves, and dress it first; for ye are many; and call on the name of your gods, but put no fire under.

9. (1 Chronicles 21:10) Go and tell David, saying, Thus saith the LORD, I offer thee three things: choose thee one of them, that I may do it unto thee.

10. (1 Chronicles 21:11) So Gad came to David, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Choose thee

11. (Nehemiah 9:7) Thou art the LORD the God, who didst choose Abram, and broughtest him forth out of Ur of the Chaldees, and gavest him the name of Abraham;

12. (Job 9:14) How much less shall I answer him, and choose out my words to reason with him?

13. (Job 34:4) Let us choose to us judgment: let us know among ourselves what is good.

14. (Job 34:33) Should it be according to thy mind? he will recompense it, whether thou refuse, or whether thou choose; and not I: therefore speak what thou knowest.

15. (Proverbs 1:29) For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:

16. (Proverbs 3:31) Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways.

17. (Isaiah 7:15) Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.

18. (Isaiah 7:16) For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.

19. (Isaiah 56:4) For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant;

20. (Isaiah 65:12) Therefore will I number you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter: because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but did evil before mine eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not.

21. (Ezekiel 21:19) Also, thou son of man, appoint thee two ways, that the sword of the king of Babylon may come: both twain shall come forth out of one land: and choose thou a place, choose it at the head of the way to the city.

22. (Philippians 1:22) But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not.
***************

God Choosing

1. (Numbers 16:7) And put fire therein, and put incense in them before the LORD to morrow: and it shall be that the man whom the LORD doth choose, he shall be holy: ye take too much upon you, ye sons of Levi.

2. (Numbers 17:5) And it shall come to pass, that the man’s rod, whom I shall choose, shall blossom: and I will make to cease from me the murmurings of the children of Israel, whereby they murmur against you.

3. (Deuteronomy 7:7) The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people:

4. (Deuteronomy 12:5) But unto the place which the LORD your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put his name there, even unto his habitation shall ye seek, and thither thou shalt come:

5. (Deuteronomy 12:11) Then there shall be a place which the LORD your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there; thither shall ye bring all that I command you; your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which ye vow unto the LORD:

6. (Deuteronomy 12:14) But in the place which the LORD shall choose in one of thy tribes, there thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings, and there thou shalt do all that I command thee.

7. (Deuteronomy 12:18) But thou must eat them before the LORD thy God in the place which the LORD thy God shall choose, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite that is within thy gates: and thou shalt rejoice before the LORD thy God in all that thou puttest thine hands unto.

8. (Deuteronomy 12:26) Only thy holy things which thou hast, and thy vows, thou shalt take, and go unto the place which the LORD shall choose:

9. (Deuteronomy 14:23) And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always.

10. (Deuteronomy 14:24) And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the LORD thy God shall choose to set his name there, when the LORD thy God hath blessed thee:

11. (Deuteronomy 14:25) Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose:

12. (Deuteronomy 15:20) Thou shalt eat it before the LORD thy God year by year in the place which the LORD shall choose, thou and thy household.

13. (Deuteronomy 16:2) Thou shalt therefore sacrifice the passover unto the LORD thy God, of the flock and the herd, in the place which the LORD shall choose to place his name there.

14. (Deuteronomy 16:6) But at the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place his name in, there thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt.

15. (Deuteronomy 16:7) And thou shalt roast and eat it in the place which the LORD thy God shall choose: and thou shalt turn in the morning, and go unto thy tents.

16. (Deuteronomy 16:15) Seven days shalt thou keep a solemn feast unto the LORD thy God in the place which the LORD shall choose: because the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all thine increase, and in all the works of thine hands, therefore thou shalt surely rejoice.

17. (Deuteronomy 16:16) Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty:

18. (Deuteronomy 17:8) If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, being matters of controversy within thy gates: then shalt thou arise, and get thee up into the place which the LORD thy God shall choose;

19. (Deuteronomy 17:10) And thou shalt do according to the sentence, which they of that place which the LORD shall choose shall shew thee; and thou shalt observe to do according to all that they inform thee:

20. (Deuteronomy 17:15) Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother.

21. (Deuteronomy 18:6) And if a Levite come from any of thy gates out of all Israel, where he sojourned, and come with all the desire of his mind unto the place which the LORD shall choose;

22. (Deuteronomy 23:16) He shall dwell with thee, even among you, in that place which he shall choose in one of thy gates, where it liketh him best: thou shalt not oppress him.

23. (Deuteronomy 26:2) That thou shalt take of the first of all the fruit of the earth, which thou shalt bring of thy land that the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt put it in a basket, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place his name there.

24. (Deuteronomy 31:11) When all Israel is come to appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing.

25. (Joshua 9:27) And Joshua made them that day hewers of wood and drawers of water for the congregation, and for the altar of the LORD, even unto this day, in the place which he should choose.

26. (1 Samuel 2:28) And did I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to offer upon mine altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before me? and did I give unto the house of thy father all the offerings made by fire of the children of Israel?

27. (2 Samuel 16:18) And Hushai said unto Absalom, Nay; but whom the LORD, and this people, and all the men of Israel, choose, his will I be, and with him will I abide.

28. (2 Samuel 21:6) Let seven men of his sons be delivered unto us, and we will hang them up unto the LORD in Gibeah of Saul, whom the LORD did choose. And the king said, I will give them.

29. (1 Kings 14:21) And Rehoboam the son of Solomon reigned in Judah. Rehoboam was forty and one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the LORD did choose out of all the tribes of Israel, to put his name there. And his mother’s name was Naamah an Ammonitess.

30. (Psalms 25:12) What man is he that feareth the LORD? him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose.

31. (Psalms 47:4) He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom he loved. Selah.

32. (Isaiah 14:1) For the LORD will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land: and the strangers shall be joined with them, and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob.

33. (Isaiah 49:7) Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee.

34. (Isaiah 66:4) I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.

35. (Zechariah 1:17) Cry yet, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad; and the LORD shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem.

36. (Zechariah 2:12) And the LORD shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again.

****

I know that this is just statistical data, but there is an emphasis in Scripture. The emphasis in Scripture is on the works of God. The central focal point of the Scripture is the Gospel of Christ, the glad tidings of the sacrifice that He has made for the redemption of his people. It is by Christ’s death that sin has been conquered: that was God’s choice, not ours. And even though men chose to crucify God, this too was ordained by God:

Acts 2:22-24
22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: 23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: 24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

Praise be to God!

-TurretinFan

What does "Sola Scriptura" mean?

January 29, 2009

I enjoyed reading an article at The Neglected Word Theology and Life by Dr. W. Robert Godfrey (link) on the topic of Sola Scriptura. I got the sense from the article that it is actually an introductory chapter to a book, but the book is not identified. If Sola Scriptura is a topic that interests you, consider checking out the article!

-TurretinFan

Eastern Orthodoxy and Transubstantiation – Informal Debate

January 28, 2009

Informal Debate on Eastern Orthodoxy and Transubstantiation

The following is an informal debate that took place between Mr. Bellisario and myself on the issue of Eastern Orthodoxy and Transubstantiation. I’ve taken the liberty of cleaning it up a bit. Those who want the raw combox flow may find it in the combox of the linked post (link to post).

The debate focused on the fact that, contrary to Mr. Bellisario’s position, the Eastern Orthodox have never believed in transubstantiation. This explains a number of differences between Eastern Orthodoxy and Catholicism, particularly the absence of the elevation of the “host” from the EO liturgy and the absence of “tabernacles” in which the elements are housed to be worshiped.

The debate was sparked by Mr. Daniel Montoro’s reference to certain videos that Mr. Bellisario had prepared, and my response to that comment. Mr. Montoro also chimed in on the discussion at a few points (as did one other commenter), but the bulk of the argument was presented by Bellisario.

The following documents Mr. Bellisario’s attempts to prove his position, and how each attempt was shown to be lacking. Each claim that Mr. Bellisario made was shown either to be misleading, to be false, or to be a matter of Mr. Bellisario’s opinion versus that of Eastern Orthodox theologians.

The conclusion of the debate? Eastern Orthodoxy does not accept “transubstantiation.” It is a doctrinal innovation that came about after the Great schism, and has never been accepted in Eastern Orthodox theology, although some Eastern Orthodox (EO) theologians sometimes use the term.

For those that are interested … the following is the documentation of the exchange, which will be added to the index of my interactions with Bellisario shortly.

-TurretinFan

*** Begin of Informal Debate ***

Daniel Montoro said…

I noticed that James White hops in to make a ridiculous comment and then *poof* never to return after he had been taken to task. Why is that? I also noticed that Belisario challenged him in some videos a while back and I can’t find any response from James White. Doesn’t he do this apologetics thing full time? Why can’t he find the time to respond to those people who do a great job defeating his arguments?

Turretinfan said…

Montoro wrote: “James White hops in to make a ridiculous comment and then *poof* never to return after he had been taken to task. Why is that?”

Taken to task? LOL! I would be surprised if Dr. White even bothered to check if someone replied to his humorous comment regarding this post. He’s fairly busy with other things. It’s not normally his style to get into combox wars.

“I also noticed that Belisario challenged him in some videos a while back and I can’t find any response from James White.”

I think Dr. White may have mentioned Bellisario on his Dividing Line program once or twice … I wouldn’t be surprised if he pretty much ignored him.

“Doesn’t he do this apologetics thing full time?”

It’s a major part of his job, certainly.

“Why can’t he find the time to respond to those people who do a great job defeating his arguments?”

Dr. White responds to his critics all the time. Bellisario’s attempts, however, don’t really deserve the label “great job.”

When Bellisario recently stated that he wasn’t going to use his blog to interact with Dr. White and myself any more, I went ahead and created an index of my own interactions with Mr. Bellisario (link).

-TurretinFan

Matthew Bellisario said…

My videos speak for themselves and ultimately defeat the particular arguments White attempted to use in his attack against the Eucharist.

1. He tried in a miserable fashion to use the elevation of the host as a proof of why no one before that time believed the Eucharist to be substantial. He completely made a fool of himself by forgetting the whole Eastern Church which never elevated the host like the Latin Rite later did, and yet amazingly they still believe the same Eucharistic teaching.

2. White made a fool of himself again by assuming that there were no tabernacles before the 12 century. But he forgot that there were other containers used for the same purpose just named something else. Of course he will not respond to those facts, because in reality White has no humility to admit when he makes a mistake. Much like someone else I know, for example when redefining contraception and making a mistake when trying to tell everyone that the Catholic Church advocated the “pullout” method. When he and his friend were proven wrong they cried that they were misinterpreted. Yet well see what they wrote in public.

That is why I choose not to engage with such people, because quite frankly, when someone thinks they are right all of the time even when show to have made a mistake, I have no further reason to discuss anything with them. You can make any index that you want TF. I could care less. I have better things to do, such as put out good information for those who are actually seeking the truth and not inventing their own truth.

Turretinfan said…

“My videos speak for themselves and ultimately defeat the particular arguments White attempted to use in his attack against the Eucharist.”

Actually, Mr. Bellisario’s videos demonstrate that he does not understand Dr. White’s arguments against transubstantiation.

“1. He tried in a miserable fashion to use the elevation of the host as a proof of why no one before that time believed the Eucharist to be substantial. He completely made a fool of himself by forgetting the whole Eastern Church which never elevated the host like the Latin Rite later did, and yet amazingly they still believe the same Eucharistic teaching.”

Transubstantiation is not a doctrine of Eastern Orthodoxy. To suggest that it is, is the work of either a knave (someone who knows it is not true, but tries to tell people it is) or a fool (someone who doesn’t understand the EO view of the mysteries, but decides to claim things about them anyway).

“2. White made a fool of himself again by assuming that there were no tabernacles before the 12 century.”

Actually, the fact that there were no tabernacles before the 12th century wasn’t an assumption, it was presented with documentation from an unbiased source. Furthermore, it was confirmed by the very sources Bellisario tried to use. A more complete discussion can be found among the informal debates section of the index I linked-to above.

“But he forgot that there were other containers used for the same purpose just named something else.”

a) It’s a lie to claim that the only difference between tabernacles and previous “receptacles” was a name change.

b) The reason for a “tabernacle” was brought about by the innovation of transubstantiation.

c) Dr. White in his original presentation made passing reference to previous receptacles. So, it is not true to say that Dr. White “forgot” about them.

“Of course he will not respond to those facts, because in reality White has no humility to admit when he makes a mistake.”

Bellisario’s own errors have been demonstrated on a variety of occasions, in some cases (like the tabernacle one) conclusively (see the index I provided for some examples). If Bellisario has admitted his mistakes on his blog, I haven’t seen them. Perhaps I’ve just overlooked them. (I exclude Bellisario’s sarcastic/rhetorical claim that it was a mistake for him to engage in debate.)

Before Bellisario starts slandering Dr. White’s character, perhaps he should try to actually prove that Dr. White made a mistake, rather than simply asserting it and refusing to be shown that he himself (i.e. Bellisario) is the one who made the mistake.

“Much like someone else I know, for example when redefining contraception and making a mistake when trying to tell everyone that the Catholic Church advocated the “pullout” method.”

See the index for a link to the lengthy discussion on this issue. The comments Mr. Bellisario mentions are those by Gene Bridges on the topic of contraception.

“When he and his friend were proven wrong they cried that they were misinterpreted. Yet well see what they wrote in public.”

See what they wrote, versus what Bellisario says they wrote … it’s very illuminating.

“That is why I choose not to engage with such people, because quite frankly, when someone thinks they are right all of the time even when show to have made a mistake, I have no further reason to discuss anything with them.”

Bellisario has used this slander before. For a demonstration that it is slander, see the end of the Affirmative Rebuttal essay in the Sola Scriptura debate we did.

What Bellisario should say, is that he can’t deal with people disagreeing with him, after he has claimed to have proved his point. For whatever reason, he feels the need to claim this is the problem of the other people, rather than his own problem.

“I have better things to do, such as put out good information for those who are actually seeking the truth and not inventing their own truth.”

“Inventing their own truth” is a very ironic charge from a papist. His church invents their own doctrines, like papal infallibility, and then their lay, self-appointed apologists make claims like the ones above.

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said…

My index provides handy links for people to check for themselves. I am not worried to let people look at the debate and come to their own conclusions (index).

-TurretinFan

Matthew Bellisario said…

This is the greatest absurdity ever made!. Turretin Fan once again you make a complete ass of yourself in public.

You say, “Transubstantiation is not a doctrine of Eastern Orthodoxy. To suggest that it is, is the work of either a knave (someone who knows it is not true, but tries to tell people it is) or a fool (someone who doesn’t understand the EO view of the mysteries, but decides to claim things about them anyway).”

Go ask any Eastern Orthodox priest if the substance is changed and he will tell you that it is, no matter whether the term Transubstantiation is used. Once again you and White are so arrogant that you cant see straight. You are the damned fool of the internet by proclaiming these asinine comments as fact. I was an Eastern Orthodox deacon you boob.I Understand better than you ever will of what the Eastern Orthodox teach, so don’t ever get on here on make such a foolish claim about Orthodoxy again. I know what they believe and I know what their Liturgy proclaims as true.

Once again you will probably attempt to use your sophistry to sidestep the fact that you’ve once again made a complete incorrect statement. It amazes me to see you make such a complete fool out of yourself over and over on the internet yet you keep coming back for more. You have no understanding of Orthodoxy or Catholicism. Here are the facts form the mouth of the Orthodox themselves…Oh I know they don’t know what they believe either….

Fact from the Greek Orthodox..
“In this sacrament, the bread and wine offered to God become the Most Holy Precious and Life-Giving Body and Blood of Christ. This is known as transubstantiation. Both the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox recognize each other as “Sister-Apostolic” churches.”

How about this from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
“The Eucharistic gifts of bread and wine become for us His Body and His Blood. “

How about this mystery being explained by the Russian Orthodox…..

“According to St. Nicholas Cabasilas, a medieval Orthodox teacher, the Church’s understanding of the Eucharist is, as follows: “In the first place, the sacrifice is not only an enactment or a symbol, but a real sacrifice. In the second, that which is sacrificed is not bread, but the very Body of Christ. In the third place, the Lamb of God was immolated only once and for all times. According to the Orthodox Church, then, the Eucharist is not just a reminder of Christ’s sacrifice or of its enactment, but it is a real sacrifice. On the other hand, however, it is not a new sacrifice, nor a repetition of the Sacrifice of the Cross upon Golgotha. The events of Christ’s Sacrifice – the Incarnation, the Institution of the Eucharist, the Crucifixion, Resurrection and Ascension into Heaven, are not repeated during the Eucharist, yet they become a present reality. As one Orthodox theologian has said, “During the Liturgy we are projected in time to that place where eternity and time intersect, and then we become the contemporaries of these events that we are calling to mind” [P. N. Evdokimov, L’Orthodoxie, p. 241]. Thus the Eucharist and all the Holy Liturgy is, in structure, a sacrificial service.
How all this takes place is a mystery. As Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow wrote in his Longer Catechism, concerning the changing of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, “this none can understand but God; but only this much is signified, that the bread truly, really and substantially becomes the very true Body of the Lord, and the wine the very Blood of the Lord.”

I have never, ever seen anyone make the claim you have made. Let me copy this for keepsake, because I am never, ever going to let you forget this foolish statement. Oh you poor bishops and priests of the Orthodox Church, Turretin Fan, wants to tell you all that you really do not believe that the mystery of the Eucharist becomes the real, substantial Body and Blood Of Christ during the consecration. All of you must be mistaken! All bow to Turretin Fan. Now he is going to tell us all what the Orthodox believe! You are one arrogant, ignorant, yet laughable character.

Turretinfan said…

Bellisario,

You claimed: “He completely made a fool of himself by forgetting the whole Eastern Church which never elevated the host like the Latin Rite later did, and yet amazingly they still believe the same Eucharistic teaching.”

Now, an honest person in your place would acknowledge that you mispoke – and that the EOs just have a similar teaching, not the same teaching. In fact, if you were really a deacon in an EO church, you ought to know that the EO church doesn’t explain the mysteries by reference to the innovation of transubstantiation.

If you know that and you keep trying to make it sound like the EO and the RC views are the same, then you are a lying scoundrel, who all honest papists should abhor.

-TurretinFan

P.S. I was about to post just the part above, and trust in conscience to force Bellisario to post a reaction, but from what I’ve seen, he’s so full of hate, he would struggle to hit the delete button to simply remove his error from the net.

So, I thought I’d provide the explanation given by the John Breck: “Then again, Orthodox Eucharistic theology does not explain the change of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ as a result of “transubstantiation,” the teaching that the “accidents” (visible properties) of the elements remain unaltered, while their “substance” or inner essence becomes the actual Body and Blood. Orthodox tradition speaks of “change” or “transformation,” (metamorphôsis; in the Eucharistic Divine Liturgy metabalôn, “making the change”) but always with a concern to preserve the mystery from the probings of human reason.” (source)

And since Bellisario is making his claims dependent on the fact that Bellisario is an ex-deacon of the EO, here is John Breck’s bio — I’m guessing his qualifications trump that of an apostate deacon (link).

Daniel Montoro said…

Turretinfan, you need to look at the obvious, that the EOs believe in an equivalent to transubstantiation and not the heretical [stuff] you espouse. The catholic church of the roman rite goes further in detail, but they in no way contradict each other. It is substantively the same thing. Jesus is what is physically present, and the bread and wine are no more. Go ahead and obfuscate this fact like you do everything else. Only someone who is a liar or someone who refuses to step outside their enslaving bias would make the claims you do.

Turretinfan said…

Montoro: “It is substantively the same thing.”

You say that it is substantively the same thing, but that’s not quite the way Breck puts it, is it?

No, of course it is not.

More importantly, the question is specifically Transubstantiation – and the fact that this doctrine of Rome is an innovation, not any other aspect of the view of the Eucharist held by Rome.

The fact that the doctrine of transubstantiation is an innovation that came about sometime after the turn of the millenium is just an unavoidable historical fact.

Likewise, the fact that the bread and wine are still physically bread and wine after consecreation is confirmed by the physical sciences.

History and science – two great enemies of Catholicism.

You have two ways out:

– piously call it a mystery; or

– piously understand it analogically and symbolically.

Both of those views have some historical precedent.

– TurretinFan

Matthew Bellisario said…

TF, what does Transubstantiation mean? It means change of substance you fool! The Orthodox teaching is the same. So now the whole Greek Archdiocese is wrong and Turretin is right. You are an arrogant fool, who always tries to use sophistry to make yourself look like you know something. You are in fact as I said before a laughable character who has made yes, another false statement that will go on record as showing you for the bastardized apologist that you are. Yes, you have gotten a reaction from me, for I cannot stand any more your foolishness. I apologize to those who run this blog for flying off the handle, but I would hope that even James, as well as others can see that Turretin is just plain wrong in this instance. You TF see yourself as the end to all of this debating. You think you are slick for trying to use clever wording to make yourself out to be some sort all-knowing sage. Yet you will not debate your way in heaven by using your serpentine tongued sophistry.

Transubstantiation means simply the substance is changed. This is exactly the same definition the Orthodox use. Read you arrogant ass…..definition..”is the change of the substance of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ.”

Read the Orthodox definition from the Orthodox Research Institute you ass….

“What Christ did is once and for all, and thus the change of the Bread and the Wine into the True Body and the True Blood of Christ is not submitted to time, but to eternity, i.e., ever changing into His True Body and True Blood through the Liturgy. God cannot be held to time. Thus the Orthodox Church in consecrating climbs to this point when all gifts are transformed to the True Body and Blood.”

The words transformed are used along with His Body And Blood. This means the substance is changed by the Orthodox definition. You can finally have a chance to act humbly and admit your mistake, but I doubt we will see that will we? Once again forgive me for my patience has worn thin for these types of games .

Turretinfan said…

Bellisario:

I don’t make claims for myself. I point to John Breck’s clear statement. So, cast mud on him if you are not ashamed.

You claim “The Orthodox teaching is the same.” That’s simply not true, whether you want it to be true, or not. After all, Breck is pretty clear that “transubstantiation” is not the Orthodox teaching.

In case it is not clear, though, consider John Meyendorff’s comment: “They [Byzantine theologians] would consider a term like “transubstantiation” (metousiosis) improper to designate the Eucharistic mystery, and generally use the concept of metabole, found in the canon of John Chrysostom, or such dynamic terms as “trans-elementation” (metastoicheiosis) or “re-ordination” (metarrythmisis). Transubstantiation (metousiosis) appears only in the writings of the Latinophrones of the thirteenth century, and is nothing but a straight translation from the Latin. The first Orthodox author to use it is Gennadios Scholarios; but, in his case as well, direct Latin influence is obvious.” (Byzantine Theology, pp. 203-04)

Again, since Bellisario has made this about credentials, check out this guy’s credentials (link) (second link)

Should that not sate your appetite, Bulgakov has a reasonable essay in “The Holy Grail and the Eucharist,” explaining the matter.

Again, since Bellisario has made this personal, you can check out this guy’s credentials (link).

-TurretinFan

Matthew Bellisario said…

I guess it is also foolish to point out all of the joint declarations by The Catholic and Orthodox Churches that also state that the all of the sacraments are agreed upon, as well apostolic succession and the like. I mean who are the Orthodox Patriarchs, and the Pope to decide that they both believe that, “The Spirit transforms the sacred gifts into the body and blood of Christ”. (Taken from the JOINT COMMISSION FOR THEOLOGICAL DIALOGUE) Who are these guys in comparison to the all-knowing Turretin who sits at his computer blogging all day pontificating from his basement? They can’t possibly know what they believe as to sign and agree to such documents. What fools they must be.

Matthew Bellisario said…

Guess what Turretin, you are quoting individuals. I am quoting the Church documents themselves written by these Orthodox churches. Yes it is personal when you get on a blog an make statements that are not true and then try and twist your way out of them by pure sophistry. The Greek Orthodox Church disagrees with you, so do the Russians, the Copts and the Syrians. They have all signed joint declarations as to their agreement on the Eucharist with the Catholic Church. That makes you wrong! Quote any individual and credentials that you like. That is the difference between me and you. I go to the Church themselves and not to some individual who seems to line up with what I think.

Turretinfan said…

“I am quoting the Church documents themselves written by these Orthodox churches.”

Let me guess – you think your interpretation of those documents is better than the interpretation of prominent Orthodox theologians, right?

After all, they are just individuals, right?

But you, having found the true way to do Orthodox theology, can correct their learned opinions by reference to certain documents that you imagine suit your purposes, although they don’t actually use the word “transubstantiation.”

The question is not whether Orthodoxy has a similar view, or whether Orthodoxy has a large amount of overlap with Catholicism on this issue. If it were, those joint commission documents would be of interest – assuming that the Orthodox churches viewed them as validly representative of their views (we don’t have to explore that dimension because they don’t actually address transubstantiation, as such).

-TurretinFan

Matthew Bellisario said…

Oh no you don’t. These are documents signed by the Orthodox Patriarchs and the Pope agreeing to this belief. Who are you to decide that they are wrong? You are really a mindless wonder. There are numerous documents supporting my belief by the Patriarchs and the Popes themselves yet you are going to Pontificate above them? They are all found on the Vatican Website my friend. They are all there for anyone to see.

The Orthodox churches as well as most of the Oriental Orthodox Churches all agree that the substance is changed. You are proven wrong once again. I would suggest studying some more before you come out of your closet to Pontificate over the Catholic, and now the Orthodox Churches.

The one directly below is the Oriental Orthodox document. Below that is a link to the many documents signed by the other Orthodox Churches.

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/anc-orient-ch-docs/rc_pc_christuni_doc_20050129_report-ii-meeting_en.html

“with regard to the Eucharist, we believe that it is the true Body and Blood of Jesus Christ;”

Singed by…
Coptic Orthodox Church : H.E. Amba Bishoy (co-chair), Metropolitan of Damiette, General Secretary of the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church; Rev. Fr. Dr. Shenouda Maher Ishak (Rochester, U.S.A) ;

Syrian Orthodox Church : H.E. Mor Theophilus George Saliba, Archbishop of Mount Lebanon, Secretary of the Holy Synod of the Syrian Orthodox Church; H.G. Dr. Kuriakose Theophilose, M.S.O.T. Seminary, Vettickal, India;

Armenian Apostolic Church (Catholicosate of all Armenians): H.E. Dr. Mesrob K. Krikorian, Archbishop of Vienna; H.E. Khajag Barsamian, Archbishop of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America;

Armenian Apostolic Church (Catholicosate of Cilicia): H.E. Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan, Prelate of the Eastern Prelacy in the U.S.A.; H.G. Bishop Nareg Alemezian, Ecumenical Officer of the Catholicosate of Cilicia;

Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church: Rev. Megabe Biluy Seife Selassie Yohannes, Member of the Scholar Council of the Patriarchate; Lique Hiruyan Getachew Guadie; Head of Department of Foreign Relations;

Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church: H.E. Philipos Mar Eusebios, Metropolitan of Pathanamthitta; Rev. Dr. John Mathews (co-secretary), Secretary of the Committee on Inter-Church Relations;

Eritrean Orthodox Tewahido Church: Rev. Fr. Kaleab Gebreselassie, Co-ordinator for Foreign Affairs; H.G. Bishop Abuna Shenouda Zeamanuel (Rome), substitute for Mr. Yoftahe Dimetrios, General Director of the Eritrean Orthodox Church (prevented).

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/index.htm

Turretinfan said…

Bellisario:

Try to read carefully: we don’t have to decide whether your interesting view regarding the effect of having patriarchs sign a statement is right, because (a) they don’t deal with the issue directly, and (b) orthodox theologians clearly say you’re wrong about “transubstantiation.”

So, it is not the Orthodox theologians against your creative view of the joint commission, but you and your opinion of your own ability to do Orthodox theology against prominent Orthodox theologians and their ability to do Orthodox theology.

Picking between Breck and Bellisario, I pick Breck. I have more confidence in Breck’s mental abilities and knowledge of what constituteds Orthodoxy.

-TurretinFan

P.S. And dude – this statement “with regard to the Eucharist, we believe that it is the true Body and Blood of Jesus Christ;” could easily be signed by Lutherans – and I hope you’re not going to be so bull-headed as to insist that Lutherans accept transubstantiation.

Matthew Bellisario said…

I pick the Orthodox Patriarchs and the Pope who signed agreements that they agree with the Catholic teaching of the Eucharist. That makes you once again wrong. You are amazing in the fact that you are going to go against almost every Orthodox Patriarch in their agreement with the Catholic doctrine of the Eucharist. Who can reason with someone that possesses your almighty wisdom which surpasses that of even the heads of the Orthodox and Catholic Churches. You know more. And people ask why I changed my blog format to avoid foolish debates like this one. Now you all know why. You TF simply have no idea what your talking about. Add that to your index.

Turretinfan said…

Bellisario:

If those guys mentioned “transubstantiation” – you’d have a point, and all those Orthodox theologians would have to explain how it is that their patriarchs are wrong (something that would be possible, since Orthodox theologians don’t have a doctrine of “patriarchal infallibility”).

But they don’t mention “transubstantiation” – so despite your attempt to dispute Breck’s position, his position slides past unscathed.

But let’s explore your theory that if the pope (or patriarch) signs something it means his whole church believes it, shall we? Do you real think your own church’s theology works that way? No?

But when it suits your deceptive campaign to make Orthodox views sound identical on the issue of “transubstantiation” to papist views, you attribute that kind of thing to Orthodoxy? I see.

-TurretinFan

Matthew Bellisario said…

Again what does Transubstantiation mean? Answer the question. It means change of substance. So, if the Orthodox Archdioceses and their Patriarchs say that the substance is changed then the beliefs coincide. What don’t you get? The fact is you overstepped your bounds once again and you have no place to go accept to invent another argument that is not there. They all agree on the Eucharistic doctrine along with the Catholic Church. You are the one that cannot seem to grasp this simple concept. Of course if you accepted this you would find your position of being Protestant greatly weakened by the universal testimony of the Church which again disagrees with you.

Matthew Bellisario said…

I guess Turretin knows more than the whole Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America too…..This is like shooting fish in a barrel. Go away. You are not going to do yourself any favors trying to hold on and justify the false statement you made.

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese says, But whatever were the various forms of the Divine Liturgy of the primitive Church, as well as of the Church of the final formation of the Divine Liturgy, the meaning given to it by both the celebrants and the communicants was one and the same; that is, the belief of the awesomechange of the sacred Species of the Bread and Wine into the precious Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, the Lord.”

Uhmm, in case you can’t read they said change of the sacred species. This means the substance is changed. That also means transubstantiation in case you need help understanding that.

Turretinfan said…

Bellisario,

The Tridentine definition of transubstantiation is more precise than your own simplification. I refer to you both Chapter IV and Canon II of Session XIII of the Council of Trent for the precise definition.

Bottom line, though, is that there is a very good reason that the “joint commission” doesn’t use the term “transubstantiation.” There’s a great reason that the GOA doesn’t use “transubstantiation” in stating its views. It isn’t the teaching of EO.

That’s why from the GOA’s own web site, one finds Anthony Stratis contrasting the Orthodox view with the Romanist view: “Our Orthodox Church also believes in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. In other words, we believe (unlike the Protestant view) that Holy Communion, offered and received each Divine Liturgy, really is His Body and Blood, not merely symbols. Yet (unlike the Roman Catholic view), we do not attempt to describe Christ’s presence in terms of “substance,” venturing beyond the very mystery of the change that occurs during the Epiklesis of the Liturgy.”

Oh, and in case Bellisario wants to claim that Stratis doesn’t know what he’s talking about, I guess I have to point out that Stratis is the presiding priest of an Orthodox cathedral in Baton Rouge, LA.

But – you know – he’s “just an individual” etc. etc.

Such nonsense. A thousand wise men can give instruction to Bellisario, and he will persist in his opinion. He’s the perfect example of the “every man for himself” approach that Romanists think Protestants follow.

-TurretinFan

Matthew Bellisario said…

Once again you don’t have the slightest clue as to what your talking about. The bottom line is the whole Orthodox Church, in all of her Patriarchs agree with the doctrine of the Catholic church on the Eucharist. Jesus Christ could come down and tell you and would still stomp your feet and act like a child and come up with some word-puzzle for Him. You are so blinded by your hatred for the Catholic Church that you will not even acknowledge the definition of Transubstantiation as meaning the substance is changed, which the Orthodox say over and over and over on their websites and in their agreements with the Pope. You are not worth the time I have spent on this that is for sure. Hopefully someone reading this will take the time to investigate these Orthodox and Catholic sources for themselves. I would recommend that you quit now, I hate to keep kicking a guy on the ground.

Turretinfan said…

Breck (Orthodox theologian) and Stratis (Orthodox priest)

vs.

Bellisario (former Orthodox deacon)

And it is TurretinFan who doesn’t have a clue? It is TurretinFan stomping his feet?

Let the reader beware.

-TurretinFan

Matthew Bellisario said…

Turretin Fan vs the all of the Orthodox Patriarchs. He knows more than all of them put together! What fools they are to sign such agreements with the Catholic Church! Ohh, I forgot, Turretin needs the last post to feel like he won the argument. Go ahead, and put a great insult in their too while your at it to make it look like you really cleaned up.

Turretinfan said…

“Turretin Fan vs the all of the Orthodox Patriarchs”

Nope. They didn’t mention “transubstantiation.” I’ve pointed this out a few times already. I guess it hasn’t sunk in yet. There’s a great reason for that. It’s not a point of agreement between Rome and Constantinople.

But Breck and Stratis did – and they would explain to those who don’t close their ears to listen.

-TurretinFan

Matthew Bellisario said…

Yes it is you against almost every Orthodox Patriarch the world over since they repeat over and over, that the substance is changed! Wow you really will not get a clue will you? The term doesn’t have to used to define the same thing. Substance changed means substance changed! Substance by the way is something you might want to add to your next argument. It works much better than using word games.

I will leave you to your imaginary world of artificial reality where everything you want to be true is. There is one thing I would like to know. How does it feel to be so far above the human race? You must surely be part of the Godhead since you can dismiss church documents and agreements where whole Churches and their leaders agree with on doctrines. And we all remember your track record where you tried to tell us all that the Catholic Church advocated the “pullout” method don’t we? More of the same..blah blah blah….zzzzzzzz

Agellius said…

“Transsubstantiation” is not a teaching, it’s an explanation. If the EO differ from the RC, it’s only in that they don’t choose to explain the Eucharist using this precise term. That does not make theirs a different belief.

Now really, could we please just tone it the heck down? Why can’t we simply explain our respective positions and leave it at that? Why the hostility and name-calling? It’s scandalous!! God forbid a non-Christian truth-seeker should happen upon this thread.

I’m sure each will say that the other side started it, or that they’re worse than we are, whatever. But I thought we were supposed to be Christians here, willing to accept abuse without returning it.

Why don’t we have a contest to see who can act the most like a Christian?

Matthew Bellisario said…

Ohh I won’t blame my lack of self control on anyone else. I sometimes get carried away. TF has that effect on me lately. The fact being that he will never acknowledge when he states something falsely. Then he won’t own up to it, and then resorts to creating a false argument with word games where there is no conflict. My apologies to all on the blog.

Turretinfan said…

Agellius wrote: “‘Transsubstantiation’ is not a teaching, it’s an explanation.”

Just because something is an explanation doesn’t mean it is not a teaching.

Session XIII of Trent puts the matter this way: The sacred and holy, oecumenical and general Synod of Trent,-lawfully assembled in the Holy Ghost, the same Legate, and nuncios of the Apostolic See presiding therein, although the end for which It assembled, not without the special guidance and governance of the Holy Ghost, was, that It might set forth the true and ancient doctrine touching faith and the sacraments, and might apply a remedy to all the heresies, and the other most grievous troubles with which the Church of God is now miserably agitated, and rent into many and various parts; yet, even from the outset, this especially has been the object of Its desires, that It might pluck up by the roots those tares of execrable errors and schisms, with which the enemy hath, in these our calamitous times, oversown the doctrine of the faith, in the use and worship of the sacred and holy Eucharist, which our Saviour, notwithstanding, left in His Church as a symbol of that unity and charity, with which He would fain have all Christians be mentally joined and united together. Wherefore, this sacred and holy Synod delivering here, on this venerable and divine sacrament of the Eucharist, that sound and genuine doctrine, which the Catholic Church,-instructed by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and by His apostles, and taught by the Holy Ghost, who day by day brings to her mind all truth, has always retained, and will preserve even to the end of the world, forbids all the faithful of Christ, to presume to believe, teach, or preach henceforth concerning the holy Eucharist, otherwise than as is explained and defined in this present decree.

It sounds like Trent views this as a dogmatic definition – a teaching that cannot be taught against, and not merely one of many acceptable explanations.

Bellisario: Breck and Stratis rebuke you, but you won’t hear them or me. Let me give it another try, in the hope of enlightening your mind on this issue:

1) Breck and Stratis are explicit that the EO don’t accept “transubstantiation.”

2) The Orthodox Patriarchs you mentioned signed something that you think is “the same” as transubstantiation.

3) Thus, there are several possibilities:

a) B&S are right, and the Orthodox patriarchs in reality do not conflict with them.

b) B&S are right, and the Orthodox patriarchs in reality do conflict with them.

c) B&S are wrong, and the Orthodox patriarchs in reality do conflict with them.

I think (a) is probably the best explanation of the data. Apparently you think either that (b) or (c) is the best explanation. I say “apparently” because you refuse even to admit that prominent Orthodox scholars disagree with your position.

I throw (b) into the mix because in Eastern Orthodoxy, just because a patriarch says something doesn’t automatically make that the teaching of his church. Your failure to address this point in your last few remarks leads me to conclude that you acknowledge it.

I have explained why I think (a) is right. I think it would have been easy for the joint commission to use the word “transubstantiation” if that’s what they meant. Since that is a defined theological term (defined by Trent, not by Bellisario), using it would eliminate ambiguity.

Now, Bellisario, you want to interpret what the Orthodox patriarchs signed. Your interpretation is based on simplifying Trent’s definition and assuming that if the patriarchs used some similar words to “substance” and “change” then it means that they have the same view as Trent.

Assuming you are referring to the 1982 statement (you don’t bother to give a precise citation), what I view as really dishonest is when you quote “The Spirit transforms the sacred gifts into the body and blood of Christ” without giving the explanatory parenthetical “(metabole).” (source)

If you had given that detail, it would have been obvious to the educated reader that, as Meyendorff explained, it is possible to embrace metabole while viewing metousiosis (transubstantiation) as improper.

So, contrary to your claims, no – the Patriarchs were just embracing metabole, which is different from metousiosis, as Meyendorff explained.

The problem is in your interpretation, not in the clear statements of Breck and Stratis.

-TurretinFan

Daniel Montoro said…

Turetinfan you are assuming that you are an educated reader.

There is another possibility pal, and that is 4 the orthodox don’t want to limit the mystery to human intellect and terminology.

Facts for the simpleminded
1 the EO beleives that the bread and wine are Jesus, not symbols, not the heretical spiritually present, but they are Jesus
2 the EO believes that the Mass is a sacrifice, not some goofy feel good party that protestants believe
3 the catholic church beleives the same thing

So that everyone will remember, turetinfan said that
“Likewise, the fact that the bread and wine are still physically bread and wine after consecreation is confirmed by the physical sciences.”

ANYONE who understood philosophy would know better than to make that statement. I understood better than to say this when I was seven years old. That is the problem when people don’t get a catholic school education, they end up saying things like turetinfan.

turetinfan, do you know what the term accidents means? Maybe I was just blessed to have gone to school with the Jesuits, or maybe I am intellectually superior, I don’t know but I can accept the second.

Let me break it down for those of you who might be a little slow to grasp the differences here. As the Jesuits used to ask us, is knowlede a priori or a posteriori? It might not be your fault. So in humility I will admit that I might just know more than you because of God’s blessings upon me in my life, but be that as it may, a substance can change, but its accidents stay the same. So, it will appear to be bread, taste like bread, smell like bread, feel like bread, and if you drop it on the ground, yes it will sound like bread. I hope this helps you turetinfan.

Turretinfan said…

At the risk of heading down a rabbit trail, let me dissect what Mr. Montoro said.

Montoro: “Turetinfan you are assuming that you are an educated reader.”

No, I am assuming that there are educated folks here who can understand that difference between metabole and metousiosis.

Montoro: “There is another possibility pal, and that is 4 the orthodox don’t want to limit the mystery to human intellect and terminology.”

That’s an ill-formed alternative (in the sense that it lacks logical exclusivity), since it can co-exist with at least one of the other alternatives. That doesn’t mean it is wrong. In fact, it may well be the explanation for why the EO accept metabole without accepting metousiosis – why they can sign on to the “joint commission” statements without agreeing to transubstantiation.

Montoro: “Facts for the simpleminded”

No comment, as tempting as it is.

Montoro: “1 the EO beleives that the bread and wine are Jesus, not symbols, not the heretical spiritually present, but they are Jesus”

They are mystically Jesus in EO theology. Explaining the mystery is potentially dangerous in EO theology. Generally, though, it is fair to say that modern EO tend to reject a bare symbolism. Whether they view the presence as spiritual or physical is less clear – they prefer to say it is “mystical” without specifying “physical.”

Nevertheless, and this is key to the discussion, they don’t accept the view of “transubstantiation,” which goes beyond simply saying that the bread and wine are Jesus.

Montoro: “2 the EO believes that the Mass is a sacrifice, not some goofy feel good party that protestants believe”

The Eucharist is the focus of the Mass, but the two are not the same thing. The concept of the “Mass” is a distinctly Latin concept – in fact it derives from a Latin word.

Whether or not the EO view the Eucharist as a sacrifice is not really germane to the issue of whether they accept transubstantiation – or at least, even if we just say that they do view it as a sacrifice, that still doesn’t mean that they accept transubstantiation.

Montoro wrote: “3 the catholic church beleives the same thing”

The Vatican goes beyond what the EO teaches, in a way that both is problematic for the EO, and in a way that explains why the idolatrous innovations of the elevation of the host and the introduction of “tabernacles” came into Latin Christianity in the middle ages.

Montoro: “So that everyone will remember, turetinfan said that
“Likewise, the fact that the bread and wine are still physically bread and wine after consecreation is confirmed by the physical sciences.””

Accurately quoted.

Montoro wrote: “ANYONE who understood philosophy would know better than to make that statement.”

That’s just not true. What would be true is that no one who accepts Aristotelian Physics (specially his natural philosophy with respect to matter) as modified by medieval scholasticism would frame the issue that way. Of course, I think that Aristotle’s natural philosophy is inaccurate and outdated, particularly as modified by medieval scholasticism. So does virtually all of the scientific community, beginning with folks like Galileo.

Montoro wrote: “I understood better than to say this when I was seven years old.”

Children of seven are surprisingly wise in their own eyes.

Montoro wrote: “That is the problem when people don’t get a catholic school education, they end up saying things like turetinfan.”

I seriously doubt that any reasonable person would accept the idea that every student in every papal school of elementary education is propagandized with scholastically modified Aristotelean philosophy that they can never escape its grip.

Perhaps few seven year olds would be capable of recognizing that there are better philosophical systems than Aristotle’s (especially as modified by the medieval scholastics), particularly if they hadn’t been shown them, but most 67 year olds are probably capable of recognizing that there exists something more than Aristotle as twiseted by medieval scholasticism in the halls of philosophical inquiry.

Montoro: “turetinfan, do you know what the term accidents means?”

Yes. It corresponds exactly with “species” (used in some English translations) in Trent’s “Canon II” I referenced earlier. Trent was trying to use Aristotelean categories to teach (or “explain” if you prefer that term – it makes no difference which of those two you apply to it) what happens in the Eucharist.

These days, perhaps as in those days, it’s fundamentally an excuse for the fact that physically the bread is still bread and the wine is still wine. We can do DNA tests today to confirm that it isn’t human flesh that just looks rather like bread, but that it still is physically bread.

It superficially sounds very lovely to dress up the claim in Aristotelean philosophical categories of accidents and substance/essence. On further investigation, though, the appeal to those categories (at least in this instance) just amounts to a denial of the knowability of the physical world through the physical sciences (something that Aristotle himself never seems to have endorsed).

Furthermore, it is not really a valid application of Aristotelean thought, since Aristotle meant to distinguish between things like the fact that though Benedict XVI and Obama have many dissimilarities in appearance, they are both men – and though my chair may be made from stone, and yours from plastic, they are both chairs.

Montoro: “Maybe I was just blessed to have gone to school with the Jesuits, or maybe I am intellectually superior, I don’t know but I can accept the second.”

No comment.

Montoro: “Let me break it down for those of you who might be a little slow to grasp the differences here.”

No comment.

Montoro: “As the Jesuits used to ask us, is knowlede a priori or a posteriori?”

That particular question is the topic of quite a lot of philosophical debate. Probably seven year olds are unaware of this. Plato (for example) gave an excellent argument for the a priori position, but perhaps the best answer is that the question is a false dichotomy – some human knowledge is of each kind.

Montoro: “It might not be your fault.”

Indeed.

Montoro: “So in humility I will admit that I might just know more than you because of God’s blessings upon me in my life,”

No comment.

Montoro: “but be that as it may, a substance can change, but its accidents stay the same.”

This may be true within strict Aristotelean thought. For example, by putting a water stain on a window to the use of an idol of Mary, its substance is changed from stain to icon, while the accidents of the object remain unchanged. But this is not a physical change. In fact, one should note that in such a condition, the stain doesn’t cease to be a stain, it just becomes both a stain and an idol.

Likewise, the opposite can be true within Aristotelean thought: something can undergo a change of accidents, without undergoing a change of essence or substance. That is to say, if I lose my leg, I am still a man – though my accidents have been altered.

But it requires torture of Aristotelean thought and an abandonment of rationality to assert that a physical change is involved when no accidents are affected, and that a complete replacement of substance can occur without any change of accidents. Put another way, it’s just a superstitious blunder to claim that the host is transubstantiated – it has no connection with the physical reality of the matter, even if someone told you differently when you were seven.

Montoro: “So, it will appear to be bread, taste like bread, smell like bread, feel like bread, and if you drop it on the ground, yes it will sound like bread.”

Someone once said, “If it walks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.” It’s not philosophically nuanced – it doesn’t require special Jesuit elementary school teachers – but it does ring true to people who know ducks.

Same thing goes for people who know bread. Physically, it is bread that has the accidents and essence of bread. Symbolically it is the body of Christ, but physically it is still just bread. The question of humanity is not a bare question of accidents, even in Aristotelean thought, but to argue that something is physically a human body, when it shares no accidents with other human bodies is simply to spit in the wind.

Montoro: “I hope this helps you turetinfan.”

I think it confirms that there is no rational basis for denying my comment that Science and History are two great enemies of Catholicism, particularly on this issue, in which, as I had said, “the fact that the bread and wine are still physically bread and wine after consecreation is confirmed by the physical sciences.”

Physical investigations are the realm of the physical sciences. This is the lesson that the Vatican learned the hard way with respect to Galileo.

-TurretinFan

Daniel Montoro said…

Turetinfan, I will accept Aquinas’ teachings on Aristotle long before I accept yours, whoever you may be. You have just assumed to alter philosophical discourse on this matter with your Cartesian satan worshiping modernism which is a repudiation of even the things you believe. As far as the church and science goes, read Dr. Woods book. He is a graduate of Ivy league schools, as far as I know you might not even have a GED. So tell me, mr. turt, if you can understand philosophy, then you would undertand that the Incarnation itself blows your Cartesian philosophy up in smoke (which, like all those who are ignorant, you probably didn’t know that). Geewhiz, Jesus can’t be both God and man, he looks like a man, talks like a man, and walks like a man, he must be a man.

God is the cause of the change of substance which isn’t part of the natural order. So your duck anology turns you into a quack. Maybe those words are too difficult for you.

Matthew Bellisario said…

Spoken like a pure rationalist! When you can’t see it, don’t believe it. That’s what Turretin Fan says. Yet Turretin Fan cut and pasted a whole declaration of Trent on Transubstantiation that said nothing different than what I have said. It merely gives the background to the what was going on during the Council and declared what was to believed, and nothing different from what I have said. Another classic move from the pinhead who does everything he can to divert attention from himself. What is so complicated here? You are so far out in left field trying to create a false dichotomy.

The term Transubstantiation means simply the substance has been changed. The Catholic Church offers a philosophical view to try and explain the mystery, that the consecrated elements have indeed become Jesus himself substantially. The Catholic Church and the Orthodox both believe in the same result, the Orthodox just do not go into detail on the philosophical side to try and explain it. But they both believe the substance has changed and the both agree as what it is they are receiving in the Eucharist that is why they both signed declarations with a majority of the Patriarchs and the Pope as to agreeing to the doctrine of the substance being changed, which is the same doctrine as transubstantiation….Do you get it???? You are a real fool if you think that because they do not elevate the host they do not believe that the substance changed.

Guess what genius! The Eastern Catholics don’t elevate the host either, and they rarely if ever use the term transubstantiation to describe what happens, but they still believe the substance is changed. I guess once again the all-knowing sage Turretin is going to tell the Pope that he doesn’t understand it either, since he wholly endorses Catholics going to communion in Orthodox Churches under certain circumstances. In fact the Catholic Church and the Orthodox church have always had this unity of belief in the Eucharist. The poor pitiful Popes of the ages, they are so foolish as to think that the Orthodox share this belief on the Eucharist.

I think by now after this posting war we know who the pitiful one is, and it isn’t the Pope, the Patriarchs or myself. It is someone who loves to make false statements and then try and slither out by putting up a smokescreen.

Facts are facts. The Orthodox do not merely believe as Turretin Fan says, and I quote another false statement, “Nevertheless, and this is key to the discussion, they don’t accept the view of “transubstantiation,” which goes beyond simply saying that the bread and wine are Jesus.”

We know that is not true because they say the substance is Jesus, and that the elements are substantially changed.
Here again for Turretin, from the Greek Orthodox, which he chose to ignore because it completely flies in the face of his idiotic statement…..read it….how foolish can you be??

Fact from the Greek Orthodox..
“In this sacrament, the bread and wine offered to God become the Most Holy Precious and Life-Giving Body and Blood of Christ. This is known as transubstantiation. Both the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox recognize each other as “Sister-Apostolic” churches.”

Do you see the word Transubstantiation there????? It means they believe the substance is changed! You are a hopeless wonder TF, you have been put to shame here, you have embarrassed yourself, and quite frankly I think you should retire from your apologetic trip, because you just can’t reason like a rational person.

Here’s one for the road from the Greek Archdiocese of Austrailia, which again disagrees with the all-knowing sage Turretin….All of these archdiocese just don’t have this all-possessing knowledge that he does…..

“While Orthodoxy has always insisted on the reality of the change- the bread and the wine become in very truth the Body and Blood of Christ, it has never however attempted to explain the manner of the change. It is true that sometimes Orthodox theologians will make use of what came out of Latin scholasticism, the term “transubstantiation” (in Greek μετουσίωσης).”

That means they believe the same thing in case you can’t understand. They just don’t attempt to explain the change philosophically. I guess the Orthodox theologians here the Archdiocese is referring to isn’t on Turretin’s select list of theologians.

Turretinfan said…

Bellisario claims that the Greek Archdiocese of Australia disagrees with me.

Let’s see what they actually said, in context:

While Orthodoxy has always insisted on the reality of the change- the bread and the wine become in very truth the Body and Blood of Christ, it has never however attempted to explain the manner of the change. It is true that sometimes Orthodox theologians will make use of what came out of Latin scholasticism, the term “transubstantiation” (in Greek μετουσίωσης). Orthodox however generally emphasize that the manner of change is a mystery and must always remain incomprehensible. St John of Damascus put it as follows:

“If you enquire how this happens, it is enough for you to learn that it is through the Holy Spirit…. We know nothing more than this, that the word of God is true, active, and omnipotent, but in its manner of operation unsearchable.”

(source)

That sounds to me more or less the same as what I already reported. Eastern Orthodoxy does not teach “transubstantiation” even if “sometimes Orthodox theologians” make use of the word – and that the true position of EO is summed up in the “know nothing more” that John Damascene stated.

In context, Dimitri Kokkinos, a Greek Orthodox priest from Kogarah, in New South Wales, is actually distinguishing the Orthodox position from the papist position – not equating them.

Does the truth matter to Bellisario?

We report. You decide.

-TurretinFan

Matthew Bellisario said…

That’s it keep dodging the bullets as they hurl at you….

Fact from the Greek Orthodox..
“In this sacrament, the bread and wine offered to God become the Most Holy Precious and Life-Giving Body and Blood of Christ. This is known as transubstantiation. Both the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox recognize each other as “Sister-Apostolic” churches.”

“”While Orthodoxy has always insisted on the reality of the change- the bread and the wine become in very truth the Body and Blood of Christ,”

When will you go away and admit that you are delusional?

Turretinfan said…

As for Bellisario’s quotation that he says is “from the Greek Orthodox” … the one that states: “In this sacrament, the bread and wine offered to God become the Most Holy Precious and Life-Giving Body and Blood of Christ. This is known as transubstantiation. Both the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox recognize each other as “Sister-Apostolic” churches.

The actual source is a cursory, anonymous statement from the web page of a particular Greek Orthodox Church in Pocatello, ID – which doesn’t appear to have been updated since JP2 was in power. (source)

What can I say?

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said…

So, to summarize, if Breck and Stratis say one thing and some anonymous guy who is obviously in the minority plus Bellisario say another thing about what EO teaches – who should we believe?

-TurretinFan

Daniel Montoro said…

Turetinfan, go ahead and make this about me being a Sippo, whatever that means.

Your understanding of the issues is flawed, like the example Mr. Bellisario gave us about the contraception issue.

The EO so not limit the mystery of the Eucharist to human terminology, thats all, and that is a far cry from the absurdity you are asserting. Deal with that issue pal. Bellisario is right, you are making this a word game. Everybody here knows better. Everybody in history knows better. I challenge you to find one document from any Orthodox chuch which would state that the substance is not Christ. That the bread is just bread, and only spiritually Christ. What is being sacrificed but Jesus. His flesh is true food.

Matthew Bellisario said…

Here is yet another example, which Turretin is again obviously ignorant of, we have the Confession of the Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem in 1672 who says the following, but he is an idiot too according to our great scholar….so far above these Orthodox authorities….I can keep dealing out these sources from the Church themselves over and over, and yet TF will just not admit that he is…well….wrong.

Decree 17

We believe the All-holy Mystery of the Sacred Eucharist, which we have enumerated above, fourth in order, to be that which our Lord delivered in the night in which He gave Himself up for the life of the world. For taking bread, and blessing, He gave to His Holy Disciples and Apostles, saying: “Take, eat; This is My Body.” {Matthew 26:26} And taking the chalice, and giving thanks, He said: “Drink you all of It; This is My Blood, which for you is being poured out, for the remission of sins.” {Matthew 26:28} In the celebration of this we believe the Lord Jesus Christ to be present. He is not present typically, nor figuratively, nor by superabundant grace, as in the other Mysteries, nor by a bare presence, as some of the Fathers have said concerning Baptism, or by impanation, so that the Divinity of the Word is united to the set forth bread of the Eucharist hypostatically, as the followers of Luther most ignorantly and wretchedly suppose. But [he is present] truly and really, so that after the consecration of the bread and of the wine, the bread is transmuted, transubstantiated, converted and transformed into the true Body Itself of the Lord, Which was born in Bethlehem of the ever-Virgin, was baptized in the Jordan, suffered, was buried, rose again, was received up, sits at the right hand of the God and Father, and is to come again in the clouds of Heaven; and the wine is converted and transubstantiated into the true Blood Itself of the Lord, Which as He hung upon the Cross, was poured out for the life of the world. {John 6:51}

Further [we believe] that after the consecration of the bread and of the wine, there no longer remains the substance of the bread and of the wine, but the Body Itself and the Blood of the Lord, under the species and form of bread and wine; that is to say, under the accidents of the bread.”

In case you missed it, here it is again in slow motion for you………..”the bread is transmuted, transubstantiated, converted and transformed into the true Body Itself of the Lord…..”

“and the wine is converted and transubstantiated into the true Blood Itself of the Lord,”

Please be kind to to yourself. This could be the blog posts that end your apologetic career. Who can ever take you seriously again?

Turretinfan said…

Montoro: “Your understanding of the issues is flawed, like the example Mr. Bellisario gave us about the contraception issue.”

Go to my index, and check out the dialog for yourself. I trust an unbiased reader would find Bellisario’s description misleading at best.

Montoro: “The EO so not limit the mystery of the Eucharist to human terminology, thats all, and that is a far cry from the absurdity you are asserting.”

Oh, I see. And what is the absurdity you think I am asserting exactly? Please be precise.

Montoro: “I challenge you to find one document from any Orthodox chuch which would state that the substance is not Christ.”

This challenge has – underlying it – the fallacy of the denial of the antecedent. Just because EO’s are not Protestants doesn’t make them papists.

-TurretinFan

Matthew Bellisario said…

No one ever said they were “Papists” you moron. That is obvious, just like the the obvious fact they agree with that the substance is changed as the term transubstantiation means. Again divert the pressure off of yourself by creating another argument.

Daniel Montoro said…

“Oh, I see. And what is the absurdity you think I am asserting exactly? Please be precise.”

How are they different other than the terminology used turt?

“This challenge has – underlying it – the fallacy of the denial of the antecedent. Just because EO’s are not Protestants doesn’t make them papists.”

Did I say this turt? You have failed the challenge.

I have developed a precise description of your type over on my blog.

Turretinfan said…

Bellisario,

Your latest source, per you, is “Confession of the Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem in 1672.”

This does exemplify the teaching that you need to show is the teaching of Eastern Orthodoxy.

-TurretinFan

Daniel Montoro said…

“This does exemplify the teaching that you need to show is the teaching of Eastern Orthodoxy.”

What in the world does this mean? Can you explain what you are trying to say in human language?

Turretinfan said…

Bellisario: “No one ever said they were “Papists” you moron.”

No, indeed. No one said they were Protestants either. Nor did anyone say they agree with Protestants on the issue of the Eucharist.

Bellisario: “That is obvious, just like the the obvious fact they agree with that the substance is changed as the term transubstantiation means.”

They agree with the papists on the issue of transubstantiation? That’s not what Breck, Stratis, and Kokkinos think.

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said…

“Did I say this turt? You have failed the challenge.”

I wasn’t the least bit interested in taking on the challenge of trying to prove that modern EO’s are Protestants on the issue of the Eucharist, though apparently Bellisario has taken it on himself to prove that they are papists on the issue of the Eucharist.

Where papists = people who accept Trent, Vatican I, and Vatican II.

-TurretinFan

Daniel Montoro said…

Breck, Stratis, and Kokkinos oh my!

So what turt? Why do you hold their understanding a being infallible for the EO, but whaterver the popes and magisterium says about the true church of Our Lord to be false?

That is the problem with heretics. As I said in my blog, you deceive yourself.

Daniel Montoro said…

turt, you assume that there is a difference between the “modern EOs” and the EOs, but you utterly fail at proving this. Why should I believe you, my heretical opponent?

Matthew Bellisario said…

Read…..can you read? Did you read the confession of the Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem 1672? It completely buries any argument you have. You have lost. Do I need to run the text by you again from the formal confession??????

“so that after the consecration of the bread and of the wine, the bread is transmuted, transubstantiated, converted and transformed into the true Body Itself of the Lord”

“Further [we believe] that after the consecration of the bread and of the wine, there no longer remains the substance of the bread and of the wine, but the Body Itself and the Blood of the Lord, under the species and form of bread and wine; that is to say, under the accidents of the bread.”

“Further, that in every part, or the smallest division of the transmuted bread and wine there is not a part of the Body and Blood of the Lord — for to say so were blasphemous and wicked — but the entire whole Lord Christ substantially”

“Further, that the Body Itself of the Lord and the Blood That are in the Mystery of the Eucharist ought to be honored in the highest manner, and adored with latria [Gk: adoration or worship*]”

You have Turretin have put yourself so far in the hole that the only way you’ll get out is to ask for help. What don’t you understand? It is all here by the highest authority and proclamation at the time in the Orthodox Church in Jerusalem.

Turretinfan said…

Montoro:

You wrote: “So what turt? Why do you hold their understanding a being infallible for the EO, but whaterver the popes and magisterium says about the true church of Our Lord to be false?”

I don’t hold any of them to be infallible and I don’t reject what any of them say simply because of who they are. Why would I?

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said…

Montoro: “turt, you assume that there is a difference between the “modern EOs” and the EOs, but you utterly fail at proving this. Why should I believe you, my heretical opponent?”

Around the 8th century there arose a division between the EOs that was settled by first one way then the other way by two successive councils. As discussed in Meyendorff’s work (see my link above), the iconoclasts are thought to have been EOs with a “symbolic” understanding. Unfortunately for history, the second council ordered the works of the iconoclasts to be destroyed, and so we don’t have much historical data on what they believed.

-TurretinFan

Matthew Bellisario said…

By the way TF since you are probably completely ignorant of the this confession I thought I would share with you some facts on the confession that our other readers may also not know. The confession organized by the Orthodox Patriarch in Jerusalem was not confined to that Patriarchate. In fact over 80 bishops signed the document including the Russian Orthodox. This council is regarded by scholars as, “the most important in the modern history of the Eastern Church”. The Council was also called specifically to refute the Protestant heretics Luther and Calvin. There you have it folks. The Orthodox Church herself proclaiming…

“the bread is transmuted, transubstantiated, converted and transformed into the true Body Itself of the Lord…..”

“and the wine is converted and transubstantiated into the true Blood Itself of the Lord,”

..as formal doctrine, thus agreeing with what I have said all along, and thus disagreeing with what the great scholar Turretin Fan proclaimed.

Bellisario wrote: “Read…..can you read? Did you read the confession of the Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem 1672? It completely buries any argument you have. You have lost.”

Yes, I can read. Can you? (see my previous comment, above)

That is an Eastern Orthodox patriarch affirming transubstantiation (along with a litany of other things).

But you say it buries my argument, and that I have lost. Really? I’m curious. How does it “bury” the argument from the authority of Breck, Stratis, and Kokkinos?

How does this, the first quotation you have provided where a person with Orthodox credentials embraces “transubstatiation” overcome the denials provided by Breck, Stratis, and Kokkinos?

Or is the standard just, if you can find even one Orthodox scholar who used “transubstantiation” (although I already, via Meyendorff acknowledged that there are a few Orthodox people who use the term) – then you win?

-TurretinFanDaniel Montoro said…

Mr. Bellisario, for all reasonable people the case is closed. Thank you for the information.

Turretinfan said…

All reasonable people right now are stuck choosing between Bellisario’s claim that the 1672 confession is the teaching of Orthodoxy and the view of Orthodox theologians like Breck, Stratis, and Kokkinos.

It looks closed to me too.

-TurretinFan

Matthew Bellisario said…

Turretin, It is obvious the whole Orthodox church disagrees with you. A couple of Orthodox theologians does not constitute the doctrine of the whole Church. It is obvious the heads of these Churches agree with the Catholic Church and oppose you and your statement.

I provided formal declarations by the Churches themselves attesting to transubstantiation. The question is, are you going to go by the testimony of formal written declarations signed by their Patriarchs and bishops or a couple of theologians who you selectively quote? Yes, you lose, because I choose to look at the Church documents themselves, where again you turn a blind eye. It is obvious this document, “The Synod of Jerusalem and the Confession of Dositheus, A.D. 1672” goes against everything you have said, and it is as I have shown, “the most important in the modern history of the Eastern Church”. You will also be glad to know that the Ethereal Library goes one step further and says, “and may be compared to the Council of Trent.”

You are fading away fast. Admit that you misspoke, and made a false statement on a topic which you were ill-equipped to deal with, and we can end your beating.

Turretinfan said…

Bellisario et alia,

I have more to say, but in the interest of suspense, I’m going to wait a day to respond.

This will give you some time consider whether the testimony of BS&K (which differentiate the Orthodox position from the Roman position) or that of the 1672 statement you identified (which agrees with the Roman position) is more to be trusted as representing the true position of Eastern Orthodoxy.

-TurretinFan

Matthew Bellisario said…

Ohh the suspense is killing us! Get lost. You have set yourself in opposition to the Patriarchs of the Orthodox Churches. Why don’t you just go away instead of inflicting more injury to yourself.

Turretinfan said…

I have no delusions that any amount of Orthodox scholarship will ever persuade Bellisario to accept the fact that the EO does not accept the Romish innovation of “transubstantiation.” Nevertheless, in view of the reference to the 1672 document that Bellisario referenced (and which is referenced occasionally by other Romanist apologists of varying familiarity with Orthodoxy), one final response is worthwhile.

You may recall that I had demonstrated from Breck, Stratis, and Kokkinos that modern EO scholars agree with me that the Romanist innovation of “transubstantiation” is not the doctrine of Eastern Orthodoxy. Bellisario has pointed to a document from 1672 that clearly sets forth the Roman position, and which was (says Bellisario) affirmed not only by the Patriarch of Jerusalem but by 80 bishops of Eastern Orthodoxy, including those of the Russian Orthodox Church.

How then can this be? Is Bellisario right and Breck, Stratis, and Kokkinos are wrong? Has Bellisario stumbled upon something that Orthodox theologians were unaware of in their own traditions?

Of course, the answer is a resounding “no.”

Meyendorff, who I cited earlier, has an answer to Bellisario’s criticism of Breck, Stratis, and Kokkinos. After all, the 1672 document (later incorporated into other Orthodox confessions of faith) does have not only the word “transubstantiation” but the whole doctrine of the papists with respect to the definition of the manner of change. Protestants have historically explained this by attributing Jesuit influence to the drafting of the confession of 1672. After all, the 1672 confession was specifically formulated to contradict and contest an earlier confession made by a patriarch of Constantinople, which expressed many Protestant positions with respect to various doctrinal issues – and was produced upon the prompting of the French (read “Romanist”) ambassador and the theologians that accompanied him.

Meyendorff (who is no Calvinist – nor a friend of Calvinists), in “The Orthodox Church,” p. 64, states: Orthodox teaching always has emphasized the reality of the sacramental change (metabole) in the Eucharist by which the bread and wine are transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ. However, neither the liturgy or the Fathers nor any authentic Orthodox text prior to the sixteenth century uses the term “transubstantiation” (Greek metousiosis) to describe this mystery. This term is employed in later Orthodox confessions of faith intended to define the teaching of the Church with respect to Protestant opinions on this matter, but here is always the reservation that the term is only one of several that could be employed and does nor imply that the Church intends to adopt the Aristotelian philosophical theory of form and matter. (source)

Now this is not very clear – or perhaps just not clear enough to silence belligerent antagonists who look for any possible loophole into which to force the Roman definitions down the Byzantine throats. Perhaps Bellisario will think that this is just Meyendorff waving his hands to try to ignore an obvious truth. After all, the 1672 document is pretty clear right? Look at all those very Latin teachings regarding the Eucharist! And it is signed onto by lots of Orthodox bishops, according to Bellisario (Bellisario wrote: “In fact over 80 bishops signed the document including the Russian Orthodox. This council is regarded by scholars as, “the most important in the modern history of the Eastern Church”.”).

So, to make things perfectly clear, I provide some further clarification, from another book:
“Transubstantiation” This word appears both in the Orthodox Confession, and in the eighteen articles of the Synod of Jerusalem held under Dositheus A.D. 1672, which followed therein the Orthodox Confession; and in these two documents it is not only the word, but the whole Roman definition of the manner of the change by substance and accidents which is asserted. However, by a strange and providential inconsistency, the Greeks, whose only object was to assert the real presence and to reject Calvinism, and who suspected no new difference between their own Church and the Latin, beyond the old and well known historical differences, coupled their admission of the Roman definition of the manner of the change, with a declaration, that by using the word “transubstantiation” they by no means intended to define, nor to allow any attempt to define, the manner of the change. This declaration passed from the Orthodox Confession into the eighteen articles of Dositheus, and has ever since stood side by side in both documents with the Roman definition of the manner, the incautious admission of which it in fact neutralizes and condemns. Within the few last years the Russian synod has published a catechism based upon the Orthodox Confession and stamped with all the authority of their Church, in which the word “transubstantiation” is retained and allowed with the explanation that it is by no means to be taken to imply any definition of the manner; and for this reference is made to the Orthodox Confession, while the definition of the manner by substance and accidents, which appeared also, though inconsistently, in the Orthodox Confession, is entirely omitted. Words perfectly analogous to transubstantiation, such as transmutation and transelementation, having been always in use in the Church, it is evident, as divines of our own Church have shown, that the mere word transubstantiation may very well be used and taken in the same sense. (source)

This comes from “A History of the Church of Russia,” by Andrew Nicholaevich Mouravieff (also not a Calvinist or Calvinist hanger-on), note 5 for Chapter IV (p. 252 of the book), in the notes section at p. 401 of the book. It is a defense of the use of the term “transubstantiation” at p. 252 of the book. Note that the defense, both in this book, and in the disclaimer mentioned in the book, is to say (in effect) “even if we say “transubstantiation” we don’t accept the definition of Rome with respect to the accidents/substance distinction.”

This scholarly discussion explains that even if Orthodox theologians occasionally use the term “transubstantiation” they don’t mean by it what the Romanists mean by it – because the Romanists (who follow Trent) specifically teach that the change is defined in terms of accidents and substance. Contrary to suggestions some folks here have expressed, in Romanism one is not free to treat this as just an explanation – in fact if one denies the accidents/substance distinction, one is under Trent’s anathemas per Canon II of Session XIII of Trent.

I think there may still be a question mark in some people’s minds. “Come on,” they say, “Jesuit influence? It sounds so conspiratorial.” Well, the influence of Rome is hard to deny. In fact, from the same source, at note 9 (p. 406 of the book), the author explains:

However it must be confessed that the Patriarch Dositheus in his zeal to condemn Calvinism and to oblige M. de Nointel, though by no means (as the Calvinists pretended of all who gave similar testimony against them) a dishonest or Latinizing Greek, but a man of no small merit, and sincerely attached to his own communion, still did his work rather too “effectually” and went somewhat beyond the strict limits of the doctrine of his own Church. For not to mention the word and definition of transubstantiation in which he followed the Orthodox Confession of Mogila, or rather (and especially with respect to that very point) of Meletius Syriga, he gave also the Tridentine enumeration of the books of the canon of Holy Scripture and reproached St. Cyrill with being either a fool or a knave for calling the others Apocrypha, and in answer to the question, Whether all the faithful are to be allowed to read the Holy Scriptures? he made his synod to answer roundly “No!” On the subject of purgatory also he goes so far in order to symbolize with the Latins that he leaves no more than a verbal difference. But these inaccuracies, which were not made matter of examination or discussion at the time, and on which neither Dositheus nor Parthenius before him had any notion of making new determinations in the name of their Church, can never derive any authority from the reception and approbation given to the documents themselves, in which they were contained. Those documents both the Orthodox Confession and the eighteen articles of the synod of Bethlehem have been reasonably approved as answering the end for which they were designed, and embodying in substance the doctrine of the Eastern Catholic Church; but any accidental Latinisms which may have been adopted without reflection, in speaking at the instance of the French ambassador, and through the mouth of the divines of the Port Royal, to bear testimony to the common doctrine of both the Greek and Latin Churches against the Calvinists, on points on which the Greeks were least of all then likely to suspect or look for any differences, besides those which were of historical notoriety; — any such incautious admissions, I say, of Roman phraseology or opinions (which many causes would concur in making probable) are of no sort of authority to establish any new decision in the name of the Church, but may as easily be omitted or corrected as mere errors of grammar or typography, as soon as ever they are perceived to contain any thing contrary to the traditionary standard of Orthodoxy. (I have used bold face where the original had italics, since I have used italics for the whole quotation)

This explains (hopefully) for those still unsure whether to accept BK&S or Bellisario, that, in essence:

a) These definitions slipped in accidentally in the first place;

b) And anyway, this document could not change (and it would be a change) Orthodox theology on these points;

c) Including both the term “transubstantion” and its definition.

That should be sufficient to demonstrate that Bellisario’s claim regarding Orthodox theology is (at best) wishful thinking on his part.

Dr. White’s original claim regarding the teachings of Eastern Orthodoxy having been vindicated against Bellisario’s contrary assertions at the mouths of at least 5 credentialed Orthodox folks, I hope the reader will see why Dr. White does not have time to deal with every guy who posts videos.

-TurretinFan

Response to Jay Dyer on Calvinism (Part 3 of 13)

January 27, 2009

This is part 3 of the thirteen part series in response to Jay Dyer. The previous part may be found here (link).

Jay Dyer says:
2) “[A consistent Calvinist must be] Manichaean, in that nature is inherently evil.”

(Note, “Manichaean” and “Manichean” are both widely used spellings for this position.)

I answer:

a) The Calvinist Position (whether right doctrine or error let Scripture decide)

Men are, by nature, children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3). Nevertheless, God originally created man good (Genesis 1:26-31) although fallible (Genesis 2:16-17). By Adam’s fall, he and all those whom he represented died and came under bondage to sin (Romans 5:12). In regeneration, the old becomes new (Colosians 3:10 and Ephesians 4:24) as a result of the work of Christ (Ephesians 2:15). Thus, Christ is called the new Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45). God has foreordained all things that come to pass (Acts 17:26), and has a purpose even in the evil acts of men (e.g. Genesis 50:20). Thus, as Proverbs 16:4 states, “The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil,” and as it is written in the Epistle to the Romans, “Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.” (Romans 9:18)

b) The Accusation Disputed

The error of the Manicheans may be succinctly described as asserting that the physical world is intrinsicly evil, having been created by an evil opposite of God. Thus, the Manicheans deny that evil has a purpose in God’s plan, view the body as contemptible, and deny God’s omnipotence. Calvinism, however, teaches that God has a purpose even in the evil that happens, that the bodies of believers will be redeemed, and that God is omnipotent, even to the point of affirming that nothing can happen apart from the permission of God. Thus, no consistent Calvinist could be a Manichean.

c) The Accusation Redirected

On the other hand, Manichean errors – particularly the dualism of viewing the body as intrinsically evil – have had a perceptible impact on the theology of Roman Catholicism. Thus, for example, we seen in modern Roman Catholicism things like a view that abstinence from sexual relations is more holy than normal marital relations and an exaltation of asceticism.

Furthermore, Catholicism does not have a clear answer to the question of the purpose of evil. That is to say, Catholicism cannot consistently account for the existence of evil in the Creation. This can be seen from the widespread denial of predestination in Catholicism. To be sure, there are some Thomistic folks within Catholicism who would have a similar view to Calvinists (which in itself should cause Mr. Dyer to pause), but the Roman magisterium has not clearly sided with either Thomists or the Molinists (in fact, folks like Jimmy Akin (a popular lay apologist for Catholicism) claim that the Roman magisterium has adopted the essentially relativistic position that Thomism, Molinism, and at least one other view are all acceptable, and none can call the others heretics (source)). Nevertheless, Molinism or a form/variant of it, is the most widely promoted view in Catholicism today. This position ultimately denies God’s omnipotence, by asserting that man’s “free-will” decisions are something that God cannot control.

-TurretinFan

Continue to Part 4

Response to Jay Dyer on Calvinism (Part 2 of 13)

January 26, 2009

This is part 2 of the thirteen part series in response to Jay Dyer. The previous part may be found here (link).

Jay Dyer says:
1) “[A consistent Calvinist must be] Nestorian, in that the Logos cannot assume a fallen human nature.”

I answer:

a) The Calvinist Position (whether right doctrine or error let Scripture decide)

Christ came in the likeness of sinful flesh (Romans 8:3). Christ, however, (and only Christ) was immaculately conceived. He was like the sinful flesh of Mary from whom he (after the flesh) came, but his flesh was not itself sinful. He was a true human, but he was the second Adam. He was not under Adam’s federal headship and he did not inherit Adam’s fallen and depraved nature. This is, of course, not only the Calvinist position but also the position of at least most of the major early church fathers who addressed the subject.

b) The Accusation Disputed

The Nestorian error is (to put it concisely) to deny the hypostatic union. Nestorianism, as it is classically defined, argues that Christ was not one person with two natures, but two persons. The existence of the hypostatic union is critical to the Calvinistic view of the atonement. The fact that the person of Christ was of infinite dignity on account of His divine nature makes the atonement of infinite intrinsic worth. The fact that the person of Christ had a truly human nature made the atoning death of Christ possible, as well as making the form of the sacrifice (death of man) a proper suffering of the penalty due. Without one or the other, the atonement would be impossible. Consequently, it would be impossible for a consistent Calvinist to embrace Nestorianism.

Furthermore, this alleged Nestorian error has been disputed. As A.A. Hodge explains in his Outlines of Theology:

The Nestorian heresy charged upon Nestorius, a Syrian by birth, and bishop of Constantinople, during the fifth century, by his enemy, Cyril, the arrogant bishop of Alexandria. Cyril obtained a judgment against Nestorius in the Council of Ephesus, A.D. 431, to the effect that he separated the two natures of Christ so far as to teach the coexistence in him of two distinct persons, a God and a man, intimately united. But it is now, however, judged most probable by Protestant historians that Nestorius was personally a brave defender of the true faith, and that the misrepresentations of his enemies were founded only upon his uncompromising opposition to the dangerous habit then prominently introduced of calling the Virgin Mary the mother of God because she was the mother of the human nature of Christ.

c) The Accusation Redirected

The Nestorians (those associated with the historical Nestorius) never went away, and (ironically) Rome now accepts the Nestorian communion under certain qualified circumstances (link), which (as the linked document cautions) should not be confused with the idea there is full communion between them.

On the other hand, Rome has proven Nestorius’ apparent concerns over the term “theotokos” (literally “God-bearer” but often translated “mother of God”) to be well founded. In the years since “theotokos” became accepted terminology, Mary grew to have an increasing role in the worship of Rome, until today we have apologists for Catholicism insisting that devotion to Mary is a mandatory part of religious life. Now, an official document from the Vatican from the 1970’s states: “With his mind raised to heaven … the priest should very often turn to Mary, the Mother of God, … and daily ask her for the grace of conforming himself to her Son.” (source) If Nestorius were still around today, he’d feel vindicated in opposing the term “theotokos” on the ground that it can lead to what amounts to Mary-worship (though modern Catholicism is careful not to call this sort of veneration of Mary “worship”).

Continue to Part 3

-TurretinFan

Church Discipline and Holiness

January 24, 2009

Criticism of “Protestant” church discipline, with a positive example illustrated in this video by Dr. James White (just under 15 minutes long):

This is partly to provide balance to my criticism of Rome in these two recent posts (first post) (second post). Notice that Rome is not alone in failing to do proper church discipline. The fact that I’ve pointed out Rome’s mistake in this error doesn’t let those “Protestant” churches that do the same thing off the hook.

-TurretinFan

SSPX is Back – JP2 heading out? Implications for Unity

January 24, 2009

The so-called Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) is back. Their excommunication has been lifted by Rome. This is an interesting development on several levels.

1) SSPX seems to teach that Vatican II was not infallible

From their website (link):

  • Not by reason of the extraordinary magisterium, for it refused to define anything. Pope Paul VI himself, in an audience on January 12, 1966, said that it “had avoided proclaiming in an extraordinary manner dogmas affected by the mark of infallibility” (Cf. the declaration of the Theological Commission of Mar. 6, 1964, and repeated by the Council’s General Secretary on Nov. 16, 1964: “In view of conciliar practice and the pastoral purpose of the present Council, this sacred Synod defines matters of faith or morals as binding on the Church only when the Synod itself openly declares so.” It never did.).

  • Nor by reason of the ordinary universal magisterium, because this is not a defining power, but one of passing on what was always believed. The “universality” in question is not just one of place (all bishops) but also of time (always) (cf., Vatican I and PRINCIPLE 6).

  • Nor even by reason of the simply authentic magisterium, because the object of all magisterium is the deposit of faith to be guarded sacredly and expounded faithfully (Vatican I, Dz 1836), and not to adopt as Catholic doctrine the “best expressed values of two centuries of ‘liberal culture,’” even if they are “purified” (Cardinal Ratzinger, Gesu, Nov. 1984, p. 72. Cf. Gaudium et Spes, §§11, 44).

Before the excommunication was lifted, people scoffed at the idea that the SSPX points had any merit. As far as I know, their re-union with the Roman communion was not conditioned on their denunciation of the points above, and those points are currently (as of 24 January 2009) on their web site.

I found this comment, attributed (here) to Cardinal Ratzinger (now pope):

The Second Vatican Council has not been treated as a part of the entire living Tradition of the Church, but as an end of Tradition, a new start from zero. The truth is that this particular Council defined no dogma at all, and deliberately chose to remain on a modest level, as a merely pastoral council; and yet many treat it as though it had made itself into a sort of super-dogma which takes away the importance of all the rest.

That raises the question: should we be considering those positions stated in the documents of Vatican II to be “the” Roman position, “a” Roman position, or simply the work of private theologians?

It also raises the question of whether Benedict XVI is trying to undermine the changes his former mentor John Paul II put into place. The SSPX viewed JP2 as a neo-modernist, and JP2 excommunicated them. Benedict XVI doesn’t seem to be as concerned about SSPX, which makes it appear that he at least partly agrees with their criticism of JP2.

Either way, we have an interesting paradox: there is unity of communion now between SSPX and folks they view as modernist or neo-modernist heretics. There is unity of communion between the most traditionalist of the SSPX bishops and Joseph (“Joe the Vice-President”) Biden – one of the highest-ranking pro-murder politicians in the world. There is organizational unity – but there is obvious lack of unity of belief (or practice) on vast number of issues.

Question for Romanist readers: do you think that it is hypothetically possible that JP2 could turn out to be, in the judgment of Rome in 100 years, an anti-pope?

-TurretinFan

Response to Jay Dyer on Calvinism (Part 1 of 13)

January 23, 2009

I had never heard of Jay Dyer before, but he is a non-Calvinist, ex-Protestant. He has eleven claims (source) with respect to what a consistent Calvinist must be.

At first, I thought I’d give a quick answer to each and make this a single blog post. However, the more I looked at the issues, the more I realized that there are, for most of the criticisms, three issues to be addressed: (1) What is the actual error (or conversely, doctrine) at stake? (2) How does or doesn’t Calvinism correspond to the error (or doctrine)? and (3) Does this criticism fit Catholicism better? (Jay is apparently now a part of that religion, having turned away, practically at the last minute, from joining Eastern Orthodoxy last June, if my understanding is correct.) I’ll address each in order, in separate (hopefully brief) posts, in the upcoming days.

Obviously, Jay’s post is largely simply meant to mock and poke fun at Calvinism, rather than being a serious critique. Nevertheless, it provides an interesting platform for discussing the issues. The plan is to make this a thirteen part series in which I will consider each of his points in a separate post and then wrap up with some concluding thoughts.

To the glory of God,

-TurretinFan

Continue to Part 2

Rick Warren’s Prayer

January 23, 2009

At Obama’s inauguration, Rick Warren gave a prayer. I’ve heard a few Christians up in arms about the prayer, and they generally focus on three things:

1) It was pretty empty.

This is a legitimate criticism. There wasn’t much substance to the prayer, and some of the time was spent on “preaching to the choir.” On the other hand, one shouldn’t expect a prayer to be a sermon. I’m not trying to defend Rick Warren, but I think that some people’s expectations would not have been met unless Warren had given a 30 minute prayer-homily.

2) Warren referred to God using this sentence: “And you are the compassionate and merciful one.”

The criticism is that this sounds like it is taken from the Koran. It does sound like that. On the other hand, the true God is merciful and compassionate. Scriptures say so. It is not wrong for us to describe God that way, and it may be valuable for Muslims to see that the true God is merciful and compassionate – that such a teaching is not uniquely Koranic, but is borrowed from Christianity.

Psalm 145:8 The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.

Psalm 86:15 But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.

3) Warren referred to Jesus as “Isa.”

The criticism is, again, that this sounds like it is taken from the Koran. It does sound like that, and if context is not provided, it sounds very suspicious, particularly when coupled with (2) above. In context, however, Warren’s sentence was:

“I humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life, Yeshua, Isa, Jesus [Spanish pronunciation], Jesus, who taught us to pray: [full length version of Lord’s Prayer].”

In context, Warren was simply giving the Arabic name for Jesus in a list among the Hebrew name, the Spanish name, and the English name. In context, Warren is positively affirming that Jesus taught his disciples to pray like Christians, not like Muslims – although he is using the name for Jesus that is familiar to Muslims.

I am not a fan of Rick Warren, and I am not praising his prayer. The fact that he prayed in Jesus’ name is great, but that’s sort of a minimal bar. There are many ways his prayer could have been improved. On the other hand, I don’t think that the claims that Warren was trying to be “ecumenical with Muslims” is valid – or at least cannot be shown from his prayer.

Now, I am not familiar with a large body of what Warren has said elsewhere. So, perhaps, viewed in light of the remainder of what he has said, these seemingly reasonable references could be viewed as inappropriate concessions. No one that I have seen criticize Warren, however, has brought forth that kind of evidence.

-TurretinFan


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